University of Minnesota

Occupying a place in U history

Alumnus Horace Huntley reflects on his time at the University and the importance of engagement with the greater community.

February 22, 2013

It was a defining moment in University of Minnesota history, as well as African American history.

On January 14, 1969, a group of about 70 African American students—along with community activists—occupied administrative offices on the first floor of Morrill Hall with a list of demands for then-president Malcolm Moos.

The protesters were led by Horace Huntley and Rose Massey Freeman, two officers of the Afro-American Action Committee. They negotiated with Moos and other administrators and finally reached an agreement after about 24 hours.

That demonstration led directly to the creation of the Department of Afro-American and African Studies at the U, and indirectly to the departments of Chicano studies and American Indian studies.

Huntley, a retired professor of history at the University of Alabama Birmingham, was back in Minnesota this past fall for the dedication of Huntley House—a living-learning community in Sanford Hall for black, male first-year students.

He spoke about the efforts of black students at the U in the late ‘60s, as well as the importance of the University connecting with the greater community.

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